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EdTech

How Going Digital Could Save Time And Money For Schools

Resistant to switch to digital documents? The cost for your school is higher than you think.

Talk to any teacher, and they’ll soon mention one thing: time.

A teacher’s job is challenging, and there is not enough time for all of the job’s responsibilities. So we’d imagine that schools and districts would make changes when technology could reduce time (and other resources) wasted by old practices, right?

Wrong.

What if I told you that there is a common practice by schools and districts that wasted not only precious hours but also money and resources?

There is, and it’s more common than you think.

Quite simply, it’s this: printing copies of digital files!

Despite the popularity of the 1:1 initiative and devices like Chromebooks in K-12 schools, many teachers have not harnessed digital documents for providing rich learning experiences. These educators take digital curricular files, like PDFs supplied by publishers.

Not convinced of the problem?

While printing and copying costs vary, we can look at examples from a few contexts for a look at how expensive it is for teachers to print and copy digital documents instead of keeping them online.

Take Charleston County School District in South Carolina. Not only were printing and copying costs expensive, but they were also unpredictable. In 2015, the district faced a budget crisis partially because printing and copying costs surpassed estimates by several hundred thousand dollars.

Yes, schools and districts can take measures to reduce these costs. They can remove in-classroom printers in favor of centralized devices. They can give teachers paper quotas, cutting them off after a limit. They can track paper usage.

But the problem with these solutions is that they trade one resource (district money) for another resource (teacher time). So, while the district saves money on supplies, teachers run around the school to print worksheets – or worse, they reach their quota before the year ends. Neither situation is ideal for educating children.

This issue is not unique to the Charles County School District. The IT Firm NWNIT estimates that individual schools spend an average of $30,000 to $50,000 on printing and copying expenses. And the costs don’t stop at just paper and ink. The firm also estimates that for every $1 spent on printing supplies, districts pay $9 on “printing management,” through repairs and other services.

Higher ed faces a similar problem. Take Yale University for example, who shares that they spent about $680,000 on paper alone in 2010. They spent twice that much on ink. That’s a total of over $1.5 million, just on copying and printing!

Some teachers might argue that they don’t necessarily care about district-wide budgets as long as they can take care of their own teaching supplies. But what about the teacher’s time?

You might think that your old habit of printing out all PDFs instead of investing in the valuable process of learning with multimedia digital PDFs is just a small usage of time. But consider all the steps: You open the PDF and send it to the printer, which may or may not live in your own classroom. Then, you walk to the copier, which may or may not be functioning correctly. Next, comes the actual battle with the copy machine. Because these machines are prone to breaking, this can derail an otherwise well-planned schedule. Finally, all that work might be for naught if disorganized students lose their copies of the article and ask for you to print it out again for them. The other options? They miss out on the learning opportunity, or they miss class time to go print another copy.

And while time and money are a few of the significant costs of printing digital resources, there are countless other reasons to keep PDFs and other resources online. Just consider a few of them:

  • Students learn digital reading and annotation skills
  • Teachers can enrich text with multimedia like audio, video, highlighting and hyperlinks
  • Students can’t lose their work as the digital file is right there in their LMS
  • Students learn the process of submitting documents online for college classes

So while old habits die hard, it’s important to consider their total cost. Can you reduce (or stop) printing those PDFs? If you’re thinking that the answer is “yes,” then Kami offers a solution.

Sure, Kami will reduce the time and money associated with excessive printing. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. After recognizing the savings benefits of Kami, you’ll soon realize the rest, including:

  • Organization: Upload digital files to Kami once, and students and teachers can keep track of them forever. No lost papers, no duplicate print-outs.
  • Interactivity: Turn PDFs into interactive literacy experiences. Add comments and media files right onto the document to enhance how students interact with the text.
  • Convenience: Kami integrates with many primary LMS including Google Classroom

Want to take the next step towards a paperless classroom? Get your free Kami Basic Plan today!